In its return to the public market, Levi's looks to invest heavily in ecommerce as its direct-to-consumer segment grows.

Levi Strauss & Co.’s last public shares were traded in 1985, well before the rise of ecommerce. Now, the prototypical jeans brand, No. 222 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000, is returning to the stock market and looking to innovate in ecommerce.

Levi’s generated 4% of its revenue through its online stores in 2018, including international sites and sites for its Dockers brands, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That equates to about $223 million of the $5.58 billion in total revenue. Ecommerce sales were smaller than other direct-to-consumer efforts such as sales through company stores, which accounted for 26% of revenue. However, 65% of the apparel brand’s revenue comes from wholesale channels, and the company plans to expand wholesale partnerships in the future.

That includes wholesale to Inc. (No. 1), where the brand has a Levi’s-branded storefront that it says offers shoppers a similar experience to the company-owned sites. It’s also expanding wholesale partnerships with premium brands, such as Nordstrom Inc. (No. 16) and Bloomingdale’s (owned by Macy’s Inc., No. 6), to offer more inventory and styles to upscale shoppers, according to the filing.

However, wholesale to the top 10 customers globally increased just 8% in 2018. Direct ecommerce revenue grew 18% year over year in 2018, down from 22% in 2017.


The brand operates 43 websites in total and drew 180 million visits in 2018. Levi’s also is “incubating a portfolio” of ecommerce improvements. A past example is the “Ask Indigo” bot that used AI to help shoppers find the right style and fit. Online, Levi’s also offers a customization option that was previously only available in stores.  This helps to reduce the reliance on bricks-and-mortar locations in its direct-to-consumer channel.

Levi’s filed paperwork Wednesday with an initial offering size of $100 million, a placeholder amount that’s used to calculate fees and will typically change. CNBC reported that the denim maker is looking to raise $600 million to $800 million.